The Federal Government on Thursday said it had foiled another jailbreak attempt following the attack on the Kuje Correctional facility in early July 2022.
The PUNCH reported that Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, revealed this at the 64th session of the State House Ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Although Aregbesola did not specify which correctional facility he was referring to, he said those behind the attack had been “sent to their maker.”
He also boasted that no fleeing inmate could hide forever as their biometrics have been stored permanently on the Nigeria Police database.
On the night of July 5, 2022, armed persons stormed the Kuje correctional centre located at a satellite town in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
After the gun battle, which lasted hours, over 400 inmates believed to be linked to the Boko Haram sect escaped. Four of the fleeing inmates, security personnel and several gunmen lost their lives.
Fielding questions about the root cause of the perennial jailbreaks, Aregbesola said: “It is the season. I know you don’t want to hear it. Have we had what we are having in Nigeria today before? It is the season and it’s global.
“Why do we have assassinations in America? Bad as it is, it is horrible, but in America, people get killed every second. In California, within the last week in America, 20 people have been killed. Did you ask why? It has nothing to do with technology; it could even be linked to climate change.
“When things are hard, people who cannot manage their own stability resort to those types of things. You can’t say there is no terrorism in Nigeria; we are managing it. You can’t say there is no banditry in Nigeria; we are managing it. It is because of the level of insecurity in Nigeria, and we are rising to it. It is as simple as that.”
He assured Nigerians that future jailbreaks will be difficult and some of those who attempted post-Kuje have been “sent to their maker.”
“So, we are doing our best to ensure that it will be difficult for anybody to attack our facilities. You may not know that some had attempted and we have sent them back to their maker.
“Take it; it is no longer game as usual. We are equipping our men to, on their own, defend those facilities. And those sister agencies are equally upping their capacity to protect and defend our facilities. And we’re improving the design of our facilities to make them almost impregnable.
“So it’s sad; we are not happy that the facilities are being attacked. But it’s a function of the season and we will be deceiving ourselves if we don’t admit it. So we are up for it. Whoever attempts to dare our will, will not live to tell the story,” he threatened.
According to the minister, the federal government has done its best by capturing the biometrics of all inmates nationwide.
He said, “As of today, there is no single inmate of our facilities that is not captured biomedically and that is the best we can do. We’re still working on DNA, another way to identify them.
“We have met with all agencies and institutions that can use the biometrics we have to trace and arrest them. They are doing their best. The most effective agency in capturing them is still the police force. They are doing wonderfully well. Like I would normally tell people, they can only run; they cannot hide.”
Aregebsola revealed that his administration had constructed 112 new custodial centres nationwide; and is constructing a 3000-capacity ultra-modern Custodial Centre in each of the six geopolitical zones.
“The one meant for the North-West sited in Janguza, Kano State, has already reached 90 per cent completion,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the interior minister revealed that properties worth N3.19 trillion have been lost in various fire incidents nationwide between 2015 and 2022.
A breakdown of details from the Fire Service showed that in 2015, 2016 and 2017, properties worth N15.7bn, N1.65bn and N5.18bn were lost in fire incidents.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020, Nigerians lost N26.71bn, N16.46bn and N32.12bn, respectively, to fires. While N3.05bn and N46bn were lost in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Conversely, valuables worth N25.32tn were salvaged from various fire incidents nationwide, Aregbesola revealed.
The breakdown is as follows: N57.50bn (2015), N16.6bn (2016), N426.5bn (2017), N2.84tn (2018), N1.18tn (2019), N1.35tn (2020), N18.99tn (2021) and N448.4bn (2022). Within the period under review, 2,244 persons were saved from fire accidents, as 366 persons died.